The Student News Site of Wofford College

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

Old Gold & Black

The Black And Gold Dilemma

Students+dance+at+the+2021+Black+and+Gold+ball%2C+held+annually+by+the+college+and+organized+by+WAC.+The+event+was+shut+down+early+due+to+lack+of+compliance+with+the+college%E2%80%99s+pandemic+guidelines.+Photo+courtesy+of+Megan+Fleming.
Students dance at the 2021 Black and Gold ball, held annually by the college and organized by WAC. The event was shut down early due to lack of compliance with the college’s pandemic guidelines. Photo courtesy of Megan Fleming.

Why Wofford students aren’t to blame

Despite the ongoing—though tapering off—COVID-19 pandemic, the semi-formal Black and Gold event annually hosted by the college still happened this year. A few changes took place to accommodate what are at this point regular social norms—a bigger, outdoor space on the horseshoe to allow for social distancing and required masks.

One would also assume the moving of the event from the traditional beginning of February to the springtime allowed for the number of on-campus positive cases to decrease, increased staff & student vaccinations and a warmer climate where attendees would be less susceptible to the respiratory disease.

Yet despite all these precautions, the event that was supposed to last from 9 P.M until midnight was broken up by EPI and Campus Police shortly after 11 P.M. Prior to the dispersement, members of Wofford Activities Council (WAC) implored students to put on their masks and spread out, but at that point the damage was already done. My question, and one I believe many others would have, is “what did you expect to happen?”

Story continues below advertisement

Some will fault the young, dumb college kids for their inability to follow simple instructions, for taking a mile when given an inch and not being satisfied with merely having an event like Black and Gold during a year where any sort of activity has been halted or complicated by pandemic restrictions. Wofford College would certainly be among those to point the finger at theirresponsible co-eds unable to think of the bigger public health picture in the pursuit of alcohol consumption.

And that’s fine. Wofford administration, if you don’t want that sort of liability on your hands, I don’t blame you. Send the students off into the untamed wilderness of downtown Spartanburg and off-campus parties. But don’t host a college-sanctioned dance that is so infamous for irresponsibility that it is better known by its spoof name—“Blackout and Go”—and then act surprised when something irresponsible happens. You’re simply asking for trouble.

Don’t act holier-than-thou when you allow of-age students to bring up to six drinks to the event; we all know the commonly held mask clause “to be worn unless eating or drinking,” or when you set up a dance floor, covered by a tent, that invites students inward and allows pretty much no one directly underneath to see or hear the band well. If you didn’t want what happened to occur, then don’t allow it. Just don’t have the event.

This is not to cast the blame on WAC, a collection of hard-working, mostly volunteer students, tasked with an already tough job of organizing some of the biggest on-campus events of the year, whose job has been made no easier by the restrictive guidelines imposed by CDC guidelines, state and local ordinances and college rules. WAC could have done a perfect job preparing for the event, and if it still failed, the buck ultimately stops with the college administration.

At the end of the day, it’s just a dance. Chances are, people had fun, and getting to go for a little bit is better than not at all. In anticipation of those who would deem this piece whiny or entitled, I will say that problems such as these are incredibly minor and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and this slight inconvenience to the livelihood of Wofford undergrads will likely serve as nothing more than a hiccup in their time as a Terrier.

My point is that if authority is to be wielded, it should be done efficiently and with reasonable expectations. Wofford fell short in this capacity—it set up its students for failure. Not on purpose, it just didn’t think ahead.

This entire academic year, Wofford has had to demonstrate that it is actually trying—or at least look like it is trying—to keep the virus situation under control while allowing on-campus life to keep going both in and out of the classroom. All things considered, it’s actually done a pretty good job; we never got sent home as a collective, even if many students got quarantined at least once.

The spring 2021 semester had two parts: the time when cases spiked and students were forced to eat Burwell takeout in their rooms, and the current period where there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. It is understandable that it’s too early for Wofford to call it quits on restrictions entirely, if only from a public relations perspective.

But with only one positive case on campus as of April 27, 193 students fully vaccinated and 209 having received the first dose, it seems as though Wofford should allow its students a break after what has been a taxing year academically, emotionally, and physically. The isolated nature of the campus is well suited to allow for on-campus events such as Black and Gold, to the point where even if every precaution were to be lifted, the negative results would likely be slim to none.

Black and Gold is over though. Hopefully, if present national trends continue, the pandemic will also soon be over. The question is if the next Wofford-sponsored event will render similar results.

I guess that’s for Yung Gravy to find out.

Donate to Old Gold & Black
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Wofford College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Old Gold & Black
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal